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Labour’s ICT policy underwhelming

Hon Amy Adams
Minister for Communications and Information Technology

24 July 2014

Labour’s ICT policy underwhelming

Labour’s ICT policy to carry out review after review instead of focussing on actually connecting New Zealanders to faster broadband would increase the digital divide, Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams says.

“Labour’s underwhelming ICT policy is to review the Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative (UFB), review the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), review Crown Fibre Holdings and review the Telecommunications Act,” Ms Adams says.

“While Labour suggests endless reviews and announces they want to leave rural communities to fend for themselves, the Government continues successfully rolling out one of the most transformative investments New Zealand has ever made.

“We are spending $1.35 billion rolling out UFB and a further $300 million providing faster broadband to the rural communities Labour intends to ignore.

“While Labour likes to talk down the UFB and RBI programmes, the fact is the initiatives are the envy of many countries all over the world.

“Only three years into the UFB programme, more than 420,000 households, businesses, schools and health centres are now able to connect to the UFB network in 29 towns and cities across New Zealand.

“And, despite Labour’s rhetoric, the UFB and RBI programmes are actually ahead of schedule, and uptake is in line with government expectations and overseas experiences at this stage of deployment.

“Labour has never supported the Government’s plan to rollout faster broadband to 97.8 per cent of New Zealanders. If Labour plans to scrap the UFB and RBI initiatives, they need to come out and say it.”

Ms Adams says Labour is also playing catch-up when they say they want to allow communities to use existing fibre connections to schools.

“Last year, the Government announced a change in policy to enable schools to extend their school internet to the surrounding area so students and families can access the internet from home. All libraries also get a fibre connection, which gives entire communities access to fast broadband.

“Labour is showing that after nearly six years in Opposition and three Opposition Leaders they still have no new ideas and precious little understanding of what is already happening.”

ENDS

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